Blog creation, like anything else, cycles through fads and trends. For a while, every company’s blog was stark and minimal. Later, every blog had the moving Twitter ticker attached to it. And now almost every blog, corporate or otherwise, has this widget block of other blog posts with the presumptuous title, “You might also like” above it. You Might Also Like, or YMAL, is taking over. But it made us wonder: Is the omnipresent YMAL the blogccessory equivalent of a Chanel bag or a pair of orange Crocs?
We first really noticed YMAL pop up on the guilty pleasure entertainment blogs we like to read as a reward for a long, hard day of writing (or as a substitution therefrom, depending on how the day is going). Sometimes YMAL does actually suggest stories we do also like. The blogger or editor clearly has taken time to fill the widget with stories intended to keep the reader on the website while generating more clicks for another, perhaps lesser-read post. Huffington Post has long had versions of YMAL on blog posts and for the most part they are successful. HuffPo puts the widget to use to keep readers in place with stories in the section they were reading.
But some uses of YMAL are just downright crayzay. Take the example of a blog post over at Entertainment Weekly’s InsideTV blog about the death of TV actor Andy Griffith: The YMAL featured links to sexy pics of Selena Gomez and a story about a right-wing billionaire who called the president “dangerous.” Clearly, these titillating titles and subject matter are meant to pique readers’ curiosity, but beware! This is a commercially-sponsored YMAL that takes readers to a paid advertiser’s blog or an affiliate blog. In essence, this YMAL is not about what readers might like at all. It’s an ad, pure and simple. Which we guess would be fine if the links had anything to do with the subject matter in the initial post.
This being said, using a YMAL widget can be great for blogging for business. You have a genius post that nobody read? You’ve written other blogs about the same topic that you think your readers would enjoy? Then YMAL is your best friend. Just remember to be thoughtful when using it. Post stuff you think your readers will really get something out of. Otherwise, you’ve junked up your blog with excess garbage — and nobody “likes” that.